April 14, 2008

BlogPulse Offers Insight into Blog Trends, Conversations and Influence

While BlogPulse has been around since 2005, I have largely ignored it, relying on Technorati, Google Blog Search and my own internal metrics to gauge momentum, trends and how conversations get shaped. But in light of this weekend's discussion, I was drawn to the site, and found it offers the best, closest, picture to how the story developed, who linked to who, and how a story can gain influence.

You can even see which people, famous or otherwise, are getting cited most frequently, or are the most "bursty", showing they are climing the ranks. (Key People for April 13, 2008)

Part of Nielsen BuzzMetrics, BlogPulse highlights the top blog posts, news stories and videos on the Web each day, and offers the ability to search for trends, track conversations across multiple blogs and get profiles of a site. Interestingly, I was alerted by Technorati to the fact that Friday night's post was somehow labeled the second-highest "top blog post" by Nielsen, and Scoble's follow-on "Era of Blogger's Control Is Over" ranked fifth. This was tabulated by the blog posts gaining the most external links. You can see the top forty for today listed on their site, ranging from technology to politics. Unsurprisingly, the weekend discussion on Shyftr figures prominently, with Scoble and me being joined by Tony Hung.

What makes BlogPulse most interesting, at least to me, is the ability to break out conversations between blogs, like a family tree, seeing who linked to who, and how while I may have kicked off the discussion, its clear that Scoble and Hung have their own spheres of influence. Of course, as some reactions linked to all sites, it's not a perfect measure, but BlogPulse is the best I've seen here. (See: BlogPulse: Conversation Tracker)

But BlogPulse does more than just track the conversations. Like Technorati, BlogPulse can show charts, displaying if one topic or another is capturing the fancy of the blogosphere as a whole.

Here is the chart showing Shyftr's spike over the weekend:

The same chart for FriendFeed:

And for Twitter:

And if you're so inclined, you can even search for yourself, like I did.

Drilling down further, BlogPulse offers site profiles for the many blogs they index. The front page of the site claims nearly 78 million identified blogs, with more than 80 thousand net new in the last 24 hours, with almost 700,000 new posts indexed. Now that would make for a big fat, RSS to-do list, would it not?

Looking at my BlogPulse profile, common keywords in my recent posts include "TechMeme", "Blogosphere", "Subscriber", "Momentum", "Anticipated", "Linking", "Embedded", and "Screenshot", to name a few. BlogPulse also offers graphs showing the number of posts per day, and how often the site has been cited in the last month. The chart for my site is below:

Can BlogPulse replace Technorati, as many have expressed frustration with the one-time blog search king? Maybe not, but it certainly has a lot of very interesting elements that I like. While it's not new, I'm definitely going to be paying a lot more attention now to BlogPulse than I ever did before. After a crazy blog weekend, it's offered us the best picture of how it all unfolded.